If Radio Changed Would Anyone Hear It?

“If radio featured significantly less advertising, would that keep listeners away from their CD’s and iPods and satellite radios and TV’s and video games? Indeed, would that make the radio industry a healthier one?” – Mark Ramsey, Mercury Radio Research.

These days, after more than 5 minutes of broadcast radio, I need to turn it off or leave the room. It’s not just the commercials, or the decade-old play lists, or the insipid banter between “personalities” (NPR included), it’s also the lack of control (pause, skip, etc).

I was reminded yesterday of Flato – a coupon radio program (now with podcasts!). It’s an entertaining listen if you’re driving near Milwaukee. Back when we made that drive more frequently, there was a stickie note inside the dashboard with Flato’s frequency on it.

Radio needs to stop acting like it’s in competition – for ad dollars or community entertainment – with any of the media forms on Mark’s list. Radio needs to start being interesting. Hopefully before we all forget what broadcast radio is.

RELATED:
The payola investigation was successful:

“Under the pending agreement — reported yesterday by the Associated Press and confirmed by Adelstein — Entercom Communications will pay $4 million in fines, followed by Clear Channel Communications ($3.5 million), CBS Radio ($3 million) and Citadel Broadcasting ($2 million). Adelstein said he expected a majority of the commissioners to approve the settlement this week.” – Charles Babington, Washington Post

5 Replies to “If Radio Changed Would Anyone Hear It?”

  1. There’s nothing easier to listen to than the radio. It’s in every car, so all you have to do is turn it on. The money (satellite) and time (syncing tunes & podcasts) people go through to avoid radio speaks volumes about the challenges radio faces.

  2. You said “Radio needs to stop acting like it’s in competition … Radio needs to start being interesting.”

    I can’t agree more wholeheartedly.

    Radio needs to remember what business it is in: the business of providing compelling content that aggregates a homogenous group of people in a way that allows advertisers to communicate with those people efficiently enough so that advertising is profitable.

  3. this is a good point:

    Radio needs to remember what business it is in: the business of providing compelling content that aggregates a homogenous group of people in a way that allows advertisers to communicate with those people efficiently enough so that advertising is profitable.

    however, it’s dangerous to accept it as a truth. just because i think the reason why radio got so messed up in the first place was because they were compelled to build something around the paradigm of selling advertising.

    i think that following that model is just gonna lead you right back to square one. example…look at podshow.

    maybe the new paradigm will be to cut out the advertising. and the middleman. after all, they were taking all the money anyway 🙂

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